Reeds Reap Revenge for Earlier Defeat
REEDS WEYBRIDGE 39 GRAVESEND 14
Reeds knew from their narrow loss against Gravesend in the early season away game that they were going to face a significant forward challenge from the visitors and so Reeds selected some seasoned campaigners in the forwards to bring some serious physicality to the game. First on the list was prop forward Shannon Fullen, he put in a full eighty-minute shift of intense confrontation and it earned him the Man of the Match Award but he was pushed hard for MOTM by scrum half Matt Connell who enjoyed good clean ball at the breakdown and was thus able to play with tempo throughout the game. Reeds were lucking to reverse a mini slump of two defeats and called for the side to up their work-rate, intensity, and physicality and they did so in spades albeit they were up against a side who were missing some of their usual campaigners. Reeds were playing down the slope in the first half and set up camp in the visitor’s territory, Gravesend strayed offside and Pete Cole slotted an early penalty. Out wide Reeds had some pace and power, quick hands unleashed young Kitan Ojo, the strong running centre playing on his debut, he broke the defensive line and was dragged down on the twenty-two but not before he had off-loaded to Billy Maddock and from there to Jonathan Levett on the wing who was there in support and who burst through a couple of tackles to touch down by the flag. 8 – 0 Reeds. Reeds have had some recent yellow card problems, but it was the visitors who upset the referee throughout last Saturday resulting in successive yellows and that allowed Reeds to dominate the forward exchanges which provided quality possession. Centre Billy Maddock on the charge is a real handful even against a well marshalled defence, and following a slick move from a 5-meter penalty and he was able to hammer his way through the midfield, following a strong forward rumble to the line that was led by Skipper Herbie Finn, for a try under the sticks. 15 – 0 Reeds. Up front Reeds took advantage of the situation, the Gravesend tight scrums went rocking backwards, a series of rucks and mauls had the visitors defence in trouble and skipper Herbie Finn drove through the gap for a seven pointer.
Change round time and Reeds were defending the slope but with three tries on the board and a twenty-two-point lead. However, it was the visitors who struck back soon after the restart, they drove play deep to Reeds five metre line following a fumble from the kick off and forced a lineout, clean possession, a rolling maul that was stopped before the line but Connor Martin the scrum half was there to dive over for a converted try. Up front was a real battle with the big and aggressive Gravesend forwards making some serious dents in the Reeds defensive wall, but they needed to win the breakdowns and Reeds skipper Herbie Finn and Luke Edwards are two physical units that marshalled the Reeds defence and denied the visitors quality ball. In that last quarter it was Reeds who had the best of the territory, their bonus point try came from a series of full-on forward exchanges, that locked the Gravesend defence into a close quarter defensive shape and it was Peter Cole the fly half who fired out a pin point accurate pass to Josh Foreman the winger who was motoring close to the touch line and it was try time by the flag. A steepling conversion from Cole and Reeds had a comfortable lead 29 – 7 lead. Reeds fitness was a factor in that last quarter, they were having the best of the territory, even with a number of new players in the backline, and switching attacks from one side of the park to the other – quick hands put Reeds in for their sixth try of the afternoon, Rhys Day, the ubiquitous front row man was on the end of a slick passing movement involving Edwards and Foreman and he burst through the defence for a try way out, yet another prodigious long range conversion from Pete Cole secured the extras quickly followed by another penalty to make it 38 – 7. Late on, with the clock on red, Gravesend had the last say, their powerful forwards had driven play into Reeds twenty two and a rolling maul secured a touchdown for their second try of the day. Referee Pierce Young from North London was in charge of affairs, his quiet authority and consistent judgement was a crucial factor in ensuring this hotly contested game was kept well under control.
Man of the Match Shannon Fullen
Team sheet – Josh Brown / Rhys Day / Shannon Fullen / Herbie Finn (capt) / Luke Edwards / Michael Wasko / Alex Corner / Lewis Jones / Cameron Goodwin / Matt Connell / Peter Cole / Kitan Ojo / Josh Clark / Billy Maddock / Jonathan Levett / Will Jones / Josh Foreman / Ross Stratton
Next Saturday, Beckenham RFC founded in 1894, are Reeds Away fixture next Saturday, Reeds won the game early season by just four points so it promises to be a tight affair.
GS Feb 11th 2023